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2 posts from March 2016



NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101 25 invitation_képCIEE Celebrating 25 Years in Budapest

The 25th Anniversary of CIEE Budapest was held at Corvinus University – our host institution – on March 4, 2016.

All current spring 2016 students, alumni, guests from CIEE Portland, Corvinus University, US Embassy, partner institutions, faculty members, and staff gathered to mark this memorable event.

Dr. Maritheresa Frain, Executive Director, CIEE- Study, Mr. Edward Loo, Charge d’Affairs, US Embassy, Dr. Zita Zoltayne Paprika, Dean, Corvinus Business School delivered greetings and accounts of the past 25 years of successful cooperation between CIEE and Corvinus University and Hungary.

CIEE’s work in Hungary has been impressive. During the past 25 years, close to 900 American students came to Budapest with CIEE.  The CIEE-administered Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund supported more than 400 talented Hungarians to train in the US, and close to 500 Hungarian students traveled to the US through CIEE’s Work Exchange programs.

The CIEE Study Center in Budapest has been attracting outstanding students from leading American universities, and whose lives have been changed by the experience. CIEE Budapest is extremely proud that six former participants were granted Fulbright awards to Hungary.

The anniversary event highlighted testimonials from alumni whose lives have been changed by the experience and who, after many years, remember fondly of their time spent in Budapest and value the experiences gained.

We would like to share with you our anniversary event in pictures:

4Maritheresa Frain, Executive Vice President of CIEE Study Abroad talking about CIEE, its mission, and how we change lives through our work

9 10Guests at the 25th celebration

5    Mr. Edward Loo, Charge d'Affairs, US Embassy highlighting the importance of public diplomacy and the role of educational exchanges


Dean Zita Zoltay Paprika of Corvinus University recognizing the value of student exchanges

12Guests enjoying the presentations at the 25th Anniversary event

18  CIEE Budapest alumnus, Tommy Wentling, Fall 2014, talking about his semester experience

Collage_gifts    Dr. Maritheresa Frain presenting gifts to our partners at Corvinus University (l –r): Dean Zita Zoltay Paprika, Corvinus School of Business, Dr. Zita Kelemen, Director, Ms. Doris Keszthelyi, Head of Office, and Ms. Gitta Pestalits, Program Coordinator of the International Study Programs


We change lives. Our alumni change the world.

To mark the 25th anniversary of CIEE in Budapest, we asked alumni to share their stories and photos of their study abroad experience with us. Read about these amazing alumni and how studying abroad with CIEE in Budapest has impacted their lives.

“I studied abroad with CIEE in Budapest in the spring of 1994, when the program was still relatively new. In one word, the experience was transformative. I came to Hungary expecting to better understand the political and social transition that former eastern bloc countries were undergoing, but I left with lifelong friends and a love for all things Hungarian. I was determined to return, master the language, and assist in at least some small way with Hungary's development journey.

I did return—in 1996 for a Fulbright fellowship, in 1997 for a graduate internship while working on my master's degree in international development, and from 1998 through 2000, when I had the great pleasure of living in Budapest while working for a local Hungarian USAID partner organization assisting in community and civil society development. I was proud that I had achieved near native fluency in Hungarian—it was such a window into the culture, history, and perspective of Hungarians. And it's such a lyrical, beautiful language.  

In the years since I left Hungary, I've continued to meet Hungarians all over the world—in the U.S., Nigeria, and even in South Sudan, where I’m currently serving as the Senior Conflict Advisor for USAID at Embassy Juba—and I always feel an instant kinship. I still sing Hungarian rock songs in the shower and love Hungarian food and wine. Hungary will always occupy a special place in my heart as a second home, and that started with Elizabeth's passion and the CIEE program—she was so committed to making study abroad a rich and positive experience, and it was. So much of what came later for me was shaped or influenced by my study abroad experience and I am grateful! Congratulations to CIEE and to Elizabeth for 25 great years in Hungary!”

Carrie GruenlohCarrie Gruenloh, CIEE Budapest, Spring 1994

“If I had to choose one word to describe my study abroad experience in Budapest, I think it would be metamorphosis. My time in Budapest was meaningful on a number of levels. My great grandparents emigrated from Hungary so my study abroad experience was a very special opportunity to explore my roots. Travelling and living abroad in my early 20s also instilled in me an appreciation for other cultures, customs, and points of view that I never otherwise would’ve had. My experience, over 20 years ago now, would not have been nearly as meaningful without Dr. Elizabeth Simon, who was not only our professor and resident director, but also our mentor, cultural liaison, and perspective-giver. Thank you Elizabeth and thank you CIEE for an amazing experience that helped to shape my life.”

-Brian Vohrer, CIEE Budapest, Spring 1995

“If I had to describe my experience in one word it would be unforgettable. Budapest is so different from the rest of Europe, it was just a very unique experience—the history is just fascinating. What does being abroad for the semester in Budapest mean to me? Well, I have continued learning Hungarian and I actually just applied to grad school in Hungary, so clearly I want to continue to live and work in Hungary and move throughout Europe, so it just has helped me realize how much I want to study and work on international education policies.”

-Marissa Kramer, CIEE Budapest, Fall 2013

A reception in the Grand Hall of Corvinus University followed the presentations and the alumni video messages.


Toasting to the 25th Anniversary: Mr. Edward Loo, Dr. Zita Zoltay Paprika, Dr. Maritheresa Frain


Mr. Edward Loo, Dr. Zita Zoltay Paprika, Dr. Maritheresa Frain, Dr. Elizabeth Simon celebrating with a glass of champagne

22Distinguished guests: Mr. Edward Loo, U.S. Embassy, Dr. Zita Kelemen and Zita Zoltay Paprika, Corvinus University, Dr. Maritheresa Frain, CIEE

32Celebrating CIEE's 25th year in Budapest


H.E. Tamas Magyarics, former CIEE faculty member, Mr. Edward Loo, Charge d'Affairs, and Dr. Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director exchanging during the reception

35 34Reception in the Grand Hall of Corvinus University

30Spring 2016 group – record number of students participating in the CIEE Budapest program

You may read more about the history of CIEE Budapest here:

Best regards,

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator




Greetings from Budapest!

Spring 2016 students have arrived safely, begun their classes and they are settling in to enjoy a great semester in Hungary. This semester we have 36 students—an all-time record for the Budapest program—and we are certainly very happy to have such a big group. The first week was very busy with orientation, getting to know the city, set up volunteer work or internship opportunities, beginning to learn more about Hungarian culture, meeting the CIEE Faculty members, and finalizing course registrations.

ZachBudapest at night with the Buda Castle and Chain bridge in the background

City tour – Heroes’ Square

During orientation week we also made a great city tour to get to know Budapest and its transportation system as well. Visiting Heroes’ Square was quite popular among students. The monument is part of the World Heritage Site and was built for the 1896 Millennium celebrations, to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarians arriving to the Carpathian Basin. Every part of the monument plays tribute to key figures of Hungarian history. In the second week, we left Budapest to see other spectacular parts of Hungary.

DSCF2741Heroes' Square: Our first history class

Navigating the city and its public transportation first appeared to be a daunting task but, after the Scavenger Hunt assignment, students felt more comfortable.  Students were divided into small groups and had to find places, significant landmarks, and even some food item. Students enjoyed all the sights, marveled the magnificent panorama of Budapest, and were able to get to know each other.

IMG_0826Carolyn, Pear, Tim and Mary are enjoying  the view for the city during Scavenger Hunt

Central Market

The Central Market Hall is also an important element of the Scavenger Hunt task. The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. Among other things, on the ground floor you can find a large selection of meats, fruits and vegetables. On the second floor, there are food stands and plenty of vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, embroidery and other souvenirs. Students need to find the “rétes” (strudel) stand and pick two likely favorites. They should not miss the delicious “túrós táska” (pastry filled with sweet cottage cheese) and “kakaós csiga” (cocoa snail).

DSCF2737     The beautiful Great Market Hall in Budapest

Student Activities

We are having a long weekend in the middle of March because of a National Holiday commemorating the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49. Some students will make use of this small ‘spring break’ and travel outside of Hungary. Other students, who stay for the long weekend in Budapest, will participate at the celebrations and events on March 15.

Upcoming events - 25th anniversary of the CIEE Budapest program

On Friday, March 4, CIEE will celebrate 25 years of study abroad in Budapest, Hungary. There will be an anniversary celebration event at Corvinus University in Budapest: guests will be here from CIEE Portland, Corvinus University, US Embassy, partner institutions, our faculty, HAESF alumni and the Spring 2016 group. More details coming in our next Newsletter!



Best regards,

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator